January 24: Read through the Holy Bible in a year.

John 16:1-16. Jesus continued his instructions to his disciples, telling why it is good he leaves and sends the Holy Spirit.

Genesis 48 describes how Jacob blessed Ephraim and Manasseh. He blessed Ephraim ahead of Manasseh, even though Manasseh was the older of Joseph’s sons.

In Genesis 49 Jacob blessed all his sons with a different blessing for each of them.

And finally, Genesis 50 tells how Jacob was buried back in Canaan near Mamre where Sarah also was buried. Joseph forgave his brothers; “Ye thought evil against me, but God meant it unto good”. Finally even Joseph dies, and he wills that his bones will be carried out when they depart  and enter into the promised land.

January 23: Read through the Holy Bible in a year.

John 15. Jesus continued his instructions to the disciples. There are many memorable quotes from this chapter: “I am the true vine, I am the vine, you are the branches, apart from me you can do nothing, as the Father has loved me, so have I loved you, love each other as I have loved you, greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends, this is my command: Love each other” and “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.”

In Genesis 45 Joseph revealed himself to his brothers, and all rejoiced. It contains the phrase “But God” and shows clearly that God was in control all the time.

In Genesis 46 Jacob joined Joseph’s brothers in going to resettle in Egypt, and is a retelling of the names of all that went, sixty-six in total – not counting women and children.

Genesis 47 tells of how Jacob and his descendants settled in Goshen, about the continuing famine, and how Joseph, controlling the food supply enslaved the people. All power corrupts, and so even Joseph failed in comparison to Jesus, who came to set people free.

January 22: Read through the Holy Bible in a year.

John 14:15-31 records the events of the hour after the Passover meal before they all depart to Gethsemane. Since Jesus told his disciples he was leaving, he promised to send another comforter or advocate. (I have put in a short explanation on the difference in the interpretation of this passage between Christianity and Islam). Jesus then explained clearly he will be going away and send the Holy Spirit in his place.

In Genesis 42 there was famine in Canaan, as happened quite regularly, so Joseph’s brothers went down to Egypt to buy food. They met Joseph, now governor of Egypt, and he demanded to see Benjamin, who was left behind with Jacob. They agreed to do so and left one of the brothers behind as collateral. Joseph was very distraught at the proposition, since Joseph and Benjamin were his favorite children.

And in Genesis 43 the famine continued, so they had to go back to Egypt for more. This time they had to bring Benjamin with them to keep their promise to Joseph. Joseph gave them all food from his table, and he gave a five times larger portion to Benjamin. So ends that chapter.

Genesis 44 tells how Joseph tested his brothers by having Joseph’s own silver cup placed in Benjamin’s sack as the brothers returned back to Canaan. They all passed the test and returned to Joseph to await his judgment.

January 21: Read through the Holy Bible in a year.

John 14:1-14 records the events of the hour after the Passover meal before they all depart to Gethsemane. Jesus told his disciples he is going away to prepare a mansion, more precisely a dwelling place for them. Thomas, always questioning him, asked him “How can we know the way?” And Philip added “Show us the Father“. Jesus answer? “Believe in me“.

Genesis 40 deals with dreams. Joseph’s two fellow cellmates in prison each had a dream, Joseph interpreted the dreams that the cup-bearer would be released and restored to his former position, while the baker would be hanged on a tree.

In Genesis 41  Pharaoh himself had a dream, and Joseph was released from prison to interpret the dream. It dealt with seven years of plenty and seven years of famine. Joseph interpreted the dream so well that Pharaoh put Joseph in charge of all affairs of Egypt. The seven years of plenty came and good harvests filled the storehouses. Then came the seven years of famine.

Psalm 8 has been set to music many times. Even I have sung it many times, both as a choir number, and the first verse as an introit. Looking for the music I found a far better, very free rendition of the Psalm, this one by Marty Goetz.

January 20: Read through the Holy Bible in a year.

John 13 begins the last 24 hours before the crucifixion of Jesus. Jesus washed the disciples’ feet before the Passover meal, a task normally performed by the lowest servant. During the meal he announced his betrayal, and then he gave the disciples a new commandment “love one another”. He also predicted Simon Peter’s denial.

Genesis 38 tells  the story of Judah and Tamar. One of the rules of the Old Testament is that if a man dies without producing an heir it was the duty of his brother to try to produce an offspring to his widow. Onan shirked this responsibility, and that was the sin of Onan. Tamar was thus still barren, so she tricked Judah into committing adultery. You can read it for yourself. Judah finally confessed: She is more righteous than I.

Genesis 39 then picks up the story of Joseph and Potiphar’s wife. The story is a classic, and for doing the right thing, Joseph is falsely accused and thrown in jail.

Psalm 7 is a shiggaion, a dithyrambic ode of David. I would love to hear what the music to this Psalm sounded like.

January 19: Read through the Holy Bible in a year.

John 12:20-50 . Some Greeks came to Jesus and Jesus prophesied  about his being “lifted up, and draw all men to himself”, and some believed. Many Jews also believed but kept quiet for fear of being kept out of the synagogues.

In Genesis 36 is recorded the genealogy of Esau and the rulers of Edom.

Genesis 37 tells of Joseph’s dreams, outrageous as they were they made his brothers jealous, so they sold him into slavery to Potiphar in Egypt.

January 18: Read through the Holy Bible in a year.

John 12:1-19 begins the last week before the Crucifixion. It is important when this happened, so I have inserted a piece on the correct dates for Passover and the Holy week. Jesus was anointed at Bethany, on Sunday and, as prophecised, he rode on an unbroken donkey colt in the triumphal entry.

Trouble started in Genesis 34. Dinah was violated by an uncircumcised person, two of her brothers executed revenge on not only the violator but every male in the whole town, killing them all. Jacob said: “You have troubled me to make me a stink among the inhabitants of the land.” And so trouble started.

Genesis 35. Jacob returned to Bethel, got rid of all the idols and built an altar. Moving on from Bethel, Rachel gave birth to Benjamin, a birth so hard Rachel died in childbirth. Finally it tells of the death of Isaac.

January 17: Read through the Holy Bible in a year.

John 11:45-57. Because Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead, the ruling Jews were worried that Jesus would become ruler and then the Romans would destroy their nation. This lead to Caiaphas’ inadvertent prophecy “You know nothing at all! You do not realize that it is better for you that one man die for the people than that the whole nation perish.

The sons of Laban were displeased, so in Genesis 31 Jacob fled from Laban. However, as Jacob, wives and children all were set to depart, Rachel stole Laban’s idols. Laban found out the idols were missing, pursued Jacob and caught up with him. Laban looked for the idols, at no avail, Rachel had hid them under the saddle of her camel and sat on it claiming she had her period. Finally Laban gave in, said farewell to all and he and Joseph established the Mizpah.

In Genesis 32 Jacob, schemer as he was, prepared to meet Esau. He figured Esau wanted to kill him, so he split up his company in two, and gave instructions to his messengers on what to say to make Esau less vindictive. Then the Jacob family crossed the Ford of Jabbok. On the other side they camped for the night, and Jacob wrestled with an angel of God and prevailed, but got a limp in his hip. God then gave Jacob a new, spiritual name, Israel.

And in Genesis 33 Jacob finally met up with Esau, and it turned out that Esau rejoiced to see Jacob and all his children.

January 16: Read through the Holy Bible in a year.

John 11:1-44 describes how Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead (on the fourth day no less).

Jacob arrived in Paddan Aram in Genesis 29, fell in love with Rachel, worked seven years to be allowed to marry her, but her father Laban tricked Jacob, so he got Leah instead. Then he worked another “seven years for Rachel”. But it was Leah that gave him his first four children, Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah.

Genesis 30 records the remaining children born to Jacob (except Benjamin, who will be born later). It also tells a story about Rachel, desperate to get a child of her own was bargaining with Leah for Reuben’s mandrakes. After Joseph was born, Jacob wanted to leave and go back to the promised land, but Laban bargained with him to stay and make them even more prosperous. Through selective breeding Jacob acquired the majority of the flocks, and became wealthy.

Psalm 6 is a prayer, this time of a humble David asking for mercy, but also asking God to humiliate David’s enemies.

January 15: Read through the Holy Bible in a year.

In John 10:22-42 Jesus claimed to be one with his Father. This is of course blasphemy unless it is true, so for that the Jews wanted to stone him.

In Genesis 27 Jacob deceived Isaac to get the blessing of the firstborn instead of Esau. Esau got one too, but just the regular blessing, so to avoid more trouble Jacob fled to Laban.

In Genesis 28, Jacob went to Paddan Aram to get a wife. On the way he had a dream, commonly known as “Jacob’s Ladder”. Meanwhile, Esau took yet another wife, the daughter of Ishmael. The promise of Jacob’s dream was that God was to give the land to Jacob’s descendants. Jacob made a vow to God and named the place Bethel.

Psalm 5 is a prayer extolling the joy of praising God and praying towards Jerusalem, but is also an urgent prayer to do away with and destroy all wickedness and wicked people.